Sep 10, 2008

The Manananggal and other monsters

I've been looking up mythical creatures for an assignment in my Junior Concepts class.
These are some really cool ones:

The Wendigo
a.k.a. Windigo, Windago, Windiga, Witiko, Wihtikow, and numerous other variants)

A mythical creature appearing in the mythology of the Algonquin people. It is a malevolent cannibalistic spirit into which humans could transform, or which could possess humans. Those who indulged in cannibalism were at particular risk, and the legend appears to have reinforced this practice as taboo.

Windigo Psychosis is a culture-bound disorder which involves an intense craving for human flesh and the fear that one will turn into a cannibal. This once occurred frequently among Algonquian Indian cultures, though has declined with the Native American urbanization.[citation needed]

Recently the Wendigo has also become a horror entity of contemporary literature and film, much like the vampire, werewolf, or zombie, although these fictional depictions often bear little resemblance to the original entity.

The Wendigo is part of the traditional belief systems of various Algonquian-speaking tribes in the northern United States and Canada, most notably the Ojibwa/Saulteaux, the Cree, and the Innu/Naskapi/Montagnais.[2] Though descriptions varied somewhat, common to all these cultures was the conception of Wendigos as malevolent, cannibalistic, supernatural beings (manitous) of great spiritual power.[3] They were strongly associated with the Winter, the North, and coldness, as well as with famine and starvation.[4] Basil Johnston, an Ojibwa teacher and scholar from Ontario, gives one description of how Wendigos were viewed:[5]
“ The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody [....] Unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Wendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption. ”

At the same time, Wendigos were embodiments of gluttony, greed, and excess; never satisfied after killing and consuming one person, they were constantly searching for new victims. In some traditions, humans who became overpowered by greed could turn into Wendigos; the Wendigo myth thus served as a method of encouraging cooperation and moderation.[6]

Among the Ojibwa, Eastern Cree, Westmain Swampy Cree, and Innu/Naskapi/Montagnais, Wendigos were said to be giants, many times larger than human beings (a characteristic absent from the Wendigo myth in the other Algonquian cultures).[7] Whenever a Wendigo ate another person, it would grow larger, in proportion to the meal it had just eaten, so that it could never be full.[8] Wendigos were therefore simultaneously constantly gorging themselves and emaciated from starvation.

(a.k.a. wakwak or penanggalan in Malay folklore)

ManananggalFrom the folklore of the Philippines we find the Manananggal that terrorizes the Visayan islands. Locals hang large amounts of garlic around their houses as a deterrent which brings to mind vampires.

With the face and body of a beautiful older woman all normality ends there. This creature features leathery wings but most impressive, and disturbing of all, is able to detach its torso and fly away leaving its legs behind. The severed lower torso is left standing and it is said to be the more vulnerable of the two halves. Sprinkling salt or smearing crushed garlic or ash on top of the standing torso is fatal to the creature. The upper torso then would not be able to rejoin and will die at daybreak.

ManananggalKnown to feed on pregnant women, using their hideous proboscis-like tongue to suck out the hearts of fetuses or the blood of an unsuspecting, sleeping victim. Legend also says the manananggals propagate themselves by spewing a black chick into someones mouth.

If you find yourself infected by a manananggal, your friends can dispel the chick inside you by hanging you upside down from a tree and fumigating you, or they could spin you round and round until you vomits the chick due to dizziness. Either way it sounds like you're in for a lot of fun!

I think I want to do some Azteca myths:

Ahuizotl (or ahuitzotl)

A legendary creature in Aztec belief. It was described as otter-like, with hands capable of manipulation and an additional hand on its tail. The ahuizotl was feared due to its liking for human flesh, especially nails, eyes, and teeth. It was said to live in or near the water and uses the hand on the end of its tail to snatch its prey.

The ahuizotl included within Book 11 of the Florentine Codex, which describes it as:
“ "...very like the teui, the small teui dog; small and smooth, shiny. It has small, pointed ears, just like a small dog. It is black, like rubber; smooth, slippery, very smooth, longtailed. And its tail is provided with a hand at the end; just like a human hand is the point of its tail. And its hands are like a raccoon's hands or like a monkey's hands. It lives, it is a dweller in watery caverns, in watery depths. And if anyone arrives there at its entrance, or there in the water where it is, it then grabs him there. It is said that it sinks him, it plunges him into the water; it carries him to its home, it introduces him to the depths; so its tail goes holding him, so it goes seizing him ... [When the body is retrieved] the one it has drowned no longer has his eyes, his teeth, and his nails; it has taken them all from him. But his body is completely unblemished, his skin uninjured. Only his body comes out all slippery-wet; as if one had pounded it with a stone; as if it had inflicted small bruises ... When it was annoyed - had caught no one, had drowned none of us commoners - then was heard as if a small child wept. And he who heard it thought perhaps a child wept, perhaps a baby, perhaps an abandoned one. Moved by this, he went there to look for it. So there he fell into the hands of the auĂ­tzotl, there it drowned him..."


In Aztec mythology, Cipactli was a vicious primeval sea monster, part crocodile and part fish. Always hungry, every joint on her body was adorned with an extra mouth. Tezcatlipoca sacrificed a foot to her when he used it as bait to draw her closer. Cipactli was the source of the Earth which the gods created from her body.

Wiki post of Aztec Gods